10/14/2014 10:59 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Lights Go on Part XXV: Serve Others

I want to share a process with you.

I enjoy writing about ideas
that have stuck to my ribs like a steak.

These past few months have been a whirlwind.

I am preparing to launch a new book,
as well as the new course that it has generated.

The title?


I'm excited about it, and here's why.

This book was totally unexpected.

It was as unplanned as that kid you had
when your former youngest was thirteen.

I guess this is an author's adventure,
a backstage pass as to how it happened.

When I wrote my first novel,
I loved the process.
How could I not?
I heard every word before I wrote it,
as if I were taking dictation.

While putting the finishing touches on it,
another book began to emerge.

Not too surprising.

You see, I create with a partner.

My imagination.

She has been with me since childhood,
the source of all of my creative efforts.

So, I listened to her once again
and began to write my next novel.


The story reflects the relationships that my characters have
with the women in their lives,
and how these women have shaped them.

Finished with my first draft,
I had received helpful comments
from my agent, Kirsten Neuhaus,
when something human occurred.

I began to receive messages in that alpha state,
while I was showering, walking in the park,
and performing those rote things we do when our
imaginations have a chance to slip through the noise.

I began to remember
more amazing things
my dad had shared with me as a child.

I was an inveterate question asker,
often to the annoyance of others,
but not Dad.

If I happen to ask him a question when he was busy,
he would let me know, then seek me out later, eager to listen.

These remembrances were only the beginning.

Before long, I began to see the brilliant formula
that Dad had put to use while raising us.

I began telling stories about these memories to friends
and was encouraged to write them down
and share them with others.

That was about when I began writing here for the Huffington Post.

One story after another about the lessons learned from Dad.

A dear one suggested I name the series,
"Lights Go On."

The more I wrote, the more this formula began to crystalize,
taking up a lot of room in my daily contemplation
that had been focused on my new novel.

My plans were going awry.

I became frustrated.

Then I remembered what I had learned.

I asked myself, "What Do I Want?"

I expected to hear, "Finish your new novel."

What I heard was this:
"Write this formula into a book,
backed with stories of your family.
And include the 'greats' with whom you've had the pleasure of working,
and how you recognized it in them as well."

I began to compile a list of chapters
that embodied the lessons I had discovered
when Dad had asked me certain questions as a child.

He also made suggestions.

Dad rarely made demands.

Soon the book began to take shape.

I swear I was unconscious while writing it
as it flowed like a river through me.

Things I never dreamed of sharing showed up on the pages.

The chapter names alone were surprising to me.

1. Anything Is Possible and Why
2. How Did This Even Start?
3. You Believed a Lie.
4. What The Hell Do I Want Anyway?
5. This Dream Picked You
6. You Have No Competition
7. Your Imagination Unleashed
8. Thinking Never Created Anything
9. Fear Is Your Friend
10. What You Want Wants You

Before I knew it, the book was written.

My editor did her usual masterful job
and Kirsten added her "Queen of Clarity" suggestions
that led me to rewrite two of the chapters.

Suddenly, the book had arrived, the surprise child.

This process has had an impact on my life
that has led me to build a star team of support.

I believe that this book,
along with the new course we've created,
serves others.

I know that this philosophy has led me to live a creative life,
with no downtime, no "writers block" and no dread.

I love to create, and now I know why,
and I am happy to share this knowledge with you.

If this sounds like a sales pitch, I apologize.
I assure you it is not my intent.

I am simply enthused about all of this because
six months ago it didn't exist in print.

Now it does.

By listening to my imagination,
whom I regard as my messenger from the universe,
I have found yet another way to serve others.